It’s Ask Luci time! If you’ve missed the last couple weeks, just a reminder that this is the new and improved Ask STFU Jezzies. Same awesome advice, new name. I have a couple great questions today, so feel free to weigh in in the comments with your take on today’s problems!
[Trigger Warning for discussion of partner with anger management problems.]
I’m moving in with my boyfriend this summer, but I haven’t told my parents. I think my mom probably has figured it out, or at least would not be surprised. I’ve been struggling with deciding when the best time is to break the news, when last weekend she brings up out of nowhere that she and my dad lived together before they were engaged, and she thinks that is cohabitation is no big thing. Do you think she wants me to confide in her? Am I being lulled into a false sense of security? Should I just tell her already or wait until its closer?
Oh, girl, she practically wrote you a little handwritten note letting you know she 1. Knows you’re at least considering moving in with your boyfriend, even if she doesn’t know it’s planned and 2. Is totally fine with it. I say go for it without hesitation the next time there is a good opening to bring it up!
My boyfriend has some anger management issues, and I sometimes have a hard time dealing with it. When his team lost the Super Bowl, he was so angry that he slammed his hand down on the coffee table repeatedly, and it was swollen for days. And while I don’t feel like I am in danger when he’s angry (he would never hurt me), I do feel a bit scared when he becomes destructive like that. I was really afraid when his college basketball team lost in their regional tournament that he was going to break the television because it was all I could do convince him not to throw his beer bottle at the television. I gave him a pillow instead, and that seemed to help. What I’m wondering is whether you have any tips for trying to talk to him about this. I’ve suggested couples therapy, and he’s not willing to go. Is there anything that I can do to get him to stop feeling that physically destroying things is an appropriate response to anger?
Even though you know he would never hurt you, it’s totally reasonable that you would feel scared and upset when he is acting destructive like that. The phrase that gives me pause here is when you write, “Is there anything I can do to get him to stop feeling that physically destroying things is an appropriate response to anger?” Because no, there isn’t, it’s his duty to manage his own emotions, not yours. And I’m wondering how much responsibility you feel for making sure his anger is under control. For instance, what are you doing when you’re watching a game with him and it’s not going well – do you find yourself trying to calm him down, offering him food or comfort or distraction, slinking away? And are there other times when you’re tip-toeing around because you don’t want to set him off? If the answer to any of the above is “yes”, then that’s more concerning than just a sports fanatic who gets a little too invested in the game.
Dear Abby always used to recommend that when one partner in a couple doesn’t want to get couples therapy, that the partner who is interested in therapy just go on their own. I think in your case this would be a good idea because it might help you get some perspective on how his anger management issues are affecting you. It sounds like you’ve already let him know that his anger is of concern to you and that you don’t like it. I suggest you tell him one more time that you are concerned about his anger issues, that they scare you, and that you worry that he is going to hurt himself or destroy your possessions. Then offer one more time that he can go to counseling with you, and if he still declines, consider going yourself. Good luck!
Note: If I didn’t get to your question today, never fear, because I will be addressing them next week! And if you have a question for Ask Luci you can submit it here anonymously, or e-mail me at lucifurious at persephonemagazine dot com and I will keep your identity anonymous. See you next week!